WRC

J-WRC: Rally Catalunya: Red Bull final leg summary

GASSNER JR REIGNS IN SPAIN! Up-and-coming German driver Hermann Gassner Jr, who benefits from Red Bull backing, has come close to equalling his best-ever World Rally Championship result, after a masterful drive on the mixed gravel...

GASSNER JR REIGNS IN SPAIN!

Up-and-coming German driver Hermann Gassner Jr, who benefits from Red Bull backing, has come close to equalling his best-ever World Rally Championship result, after a masterful drive on the mixed gravel and asphalt surfaces of the Rallye de Espana.

Gassner Jr, co-driven by his fellow German Kathi Wustenhagen, was 13th overall in his Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, which is run by the Baumschlager Rally Racing team. Gassner Jr also finished first of the 'conventional' Group N cars, which are based on standard production models.

Most importantly of all, the 21-year-old made no mistakes at all throughout the tough three-day event, based around Salou on Spain's Costa Daurada south of Barcelona.

For the first time, the opening day of Spain's round of the World Rally Championship was run on both gravel and asphalt surfaces, with the cars operating in gravel configuration. On Friday night, all the teams had a specially-extended service halt to convert their cars into asphalt specification for the second and third days of the Rallye de Espana, run on sealed surfaces.

This mixed format is common on Austrian rallies, which meant that the BRR team was able to quickly give Gassner Jr a perfect car for the final two days of the rally.

Gassner Jr drove on the Rally de Espana last year, but this time it was quite different, as the Red Bull-supported youngster explained:

"It was so much easier for us now as we have improved a lot from last year," said Gassner Jr. "It's like a night and day difference. We've had more experience and we've also changed our pace note system, so now we can drive with a lot more confidence. This rally was a great result for us, but really it was all about learning. I'm particularly pleased with our performance on the first day, as those were stages that I did not know at all."

Despite his inexperience, Gassner Jr set times that were regularly in the top 15 overall, which also pleased his team boss: multiple Austrian Champion Raimund Bauschlager.

"Hermann has been very good all weekend," said Baumschlager. "It's been a fantastic performance with no mistakes, but I cannot say that I am particularly surprised because I never had any doubts about Hermann's talent. He's very young and he's still learning, so the most important thing now is that he continues this good way that he has started. One of the many great things about Hermann is that he is always ready to listen and absorb information, so I feel confident about the future."

Gassner Jr will contest one more World Championship rally before the end of the year: the season-closing Rally Great Britain from November 12-14. Characterised by mud and rain, Great Britain will present a stark challenge to Spain while presenting Gassner Jr and Red Bull with another opportunity to end the season on a high.

-source: red bull

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